Carbon capture plans relit as Government warms to CCS.

Source: DailyClimate

The Government is preparing to reignite Britain’s plans to develop a technology that can strip harmful carbon dioxide out of industrial emissions.

The plans to embrace carbon capture and storage (CCS) are the first to emerge since a billion-pound funding competition fit two coal power plants with the technology collapsed two years ago.

The new scheme will focus on helping to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry and heating.

Claire Perry MP, a minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, resurrected CCS ambitions at the Conservative Party conference, saying it was a “vital technology”, which should be deployed “at an appropriate cost”.

The plans are expected to emerge “in a few weeks”, she added, and are likely to be part of the Government’s long overdue Clean Growth Plan, which aims to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s industry and gas heating networks.

Heating and industrial emissions make up almost half of total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

“It’s hard. There is no magic bullet. Ahead I see a road of small but important steps,” Ms Perry said, adding that plans to toughen up standards on new home building, business energy efficiency and waste heat would also play a role.

Claire Perry inspects a solar panel

The return of CCS to the political agenda could play a major role in reducing the carbon intensity of heavy industry by stripping carbon from factory flues and capturing the gas before piping it into permanent storage sites below the North Sea seabed.

It could also help transform the UK’s gas grid to run on cleaner hydrogen gas by trapping and removing the carbon dioxide produced in the process of breaking methane down to hydrogen.

Leeds City Council has already taken steps to convert the gas grid to run on hydrogen, rather than natural gas or methane. The process will include carbon capture technology to trap the CO2 produced. Similar plans are afoot to create a “hydrogen cluster” in Manchester and Liverpool.

The Clean Growth Plan kicks off a raft of Government energy programmes. It will be followed by a review of industrial energy costs spearheaded by Professor Dieter Helm and the Government’s Industrial Strategy will follow, Ms Perry said.